It was announced in the news today that Donald Trump wanted to cancel the $4 billion dollar contract to Boeing for two, 747-8 Jumbo Jet aircraft to replace the current 747-200 series aircraft used in Air Force One. While there’s no word yet on whether or not it has happened, the real excitement is in this new, outspoken policy against milking tax-payer dollars for large corporations.
Air Force One is not a single plane, but rather, a designated flight number granted to any plane, or planes, flying the President or Vice President. Traditionally, Boeing has held these contracts. And, like other contractors who take money from Uncle Sam (which is taking money from the taxpayers), the costs are definitely spiked. Boeing had “won” a contract for $4 billion dollars to replace at least two of the Air Force One Jumbo jets by 2024; 8 years from now. Here’s the catch:
Boeing’s 747-8 commercial jumbo jet costs approximately $351,8 – $379.1 million dollars to build (<= note, the website links just provided predate the reveal by Trump about the contract and cannot be taken back by Boeing!!). Now, let’s do some math because … math is fun! (okay … so math isn’t “fun”, but it will be entertaining!!):
Let’s assume that the Presidential plane gets some real customization. First off, the removal of all the seats and other elements from the commercial jet would make it lighter and less expensive. But, assuming that the weight is added back on and some luxury items are added, and in assumption of typical “overcharging”, let’s be generous to Boeing and give them a price tag of $400 million dollars, $21 million over their maximum current sales price (even though, by some of the pictures I’ve included, you can see that even private jumbo jets are cheaper than this!). And, we know that the President needs at least two planes. So:
2 planes x $400 million dollars each = $800 million dollars.
Well … that’s not $4 billion. So, let’s assume they were also going to replace the two planes that the Vice President uses:
2 more planes x $400 million dollars each = $800 million dollars + $800 million dollars (for the President’s planes) = $1.6 billion dollars.
Hmmm? That’s not $4 billion dollars either? But, according to The Hill, Reuters claimed that the Air Force was prepared to spend $1.65 billion dollars on the planes. And, hey, guess what? $1.65 billion dollars matches our number from above! So, the math does work!
But, NOT to the tune of $4 billion dollars!!
Here’s where this gets super, duper fun! On September 3rd of 2016, it was reported that Boeing told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that if they didn’t get more money (more plane orders), that they may have to cancel the production of the 747.
SO, you ask?! SO … that means that Boeing’s threat would not only have substantial consequences to the Nation’s security with the loss of Air Force One, but could potentially devastate the U.S. travel and commerce market (and the international market) on an irreparable level (thanks to big corporate -power hungry and greedy idiocy). You can read Boeing’s detailed history to learn more about how this giant mogul of aircraft manufacturing cornered the entire market. But, Boeing didn’t get to be at the top because they just made awesome planes (considering their A380 design for a new jumbo jet is just a slightly improved version of their failed 1960’s single isle A380). Boeing got to be on top because of big government, back-door deals, and cheating the people. No – really …
2004 – look it up. Inflated prices, back door deals – mishandled tax breaks – and when caught – the person at the bottom suffers while Boeing gets away with it.
Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want the biggest cheater, corner-cutter, or snake building the plane that’s supposed to keep me safe. But, it’s not like the engines are built so that they’ll just magically stop mid-flight, right? Yes … YES IT IS. See, Boeing’s wealth and power is coupled with other companies, like GE, who both spend hundreds of millions on advertising and lobbying for trillions in consumer funds and government / taxpayer dollars. And, that’s only two of the big names involved. The government has been mishandling tax payer dollars and overspending on waste without any oversight!
But, if we don’t give money to Boeing, won’t a LOT of American workers lose their jobs?
Yeah … that’s what they’ll probably spout in the press … NOW. But, history paints a slightly different picture. Boeing shifted a lot of its programming and I.T. work overseas – 12 years ago. In 2015, Boeing was going to start building its entire plane series overseas… in CHINA. (Kinda’ follows suit with GE’s similar decisions).
In 2011, reports on the number of job cut-backs and losses in America, for Boeing, revealed the overwhelming number of internationally manufactured parts that were used to build the aircraft. In other words, while Boeing profusely contends that American jobs will be lost – they’ve been outsourcing large portions of their aircraft for decades. And, there is a high probability that the constant problems they’ve been having, the plane breakdowns, and other issues may be related to cheaply produced parts that are not properly inspected once they reach American soil.
Now, no one wants to hurt a national or international commodity, especially one like Boeing, that serves an international market. And, it’s not necessarily the fault of the international manufacturers as Boeing’s style of engineering management outsources pieces without a solid plan to determine if those pieces will work together (although – sometimes – it is the fault of just cheaply produced parts). Boeing has been overcharging, coming in over budget and over time, and not building a quality product. One thing is clear: cutting Boeing’s budget really won’t have as heavy of an impact on the American economy as previously ‘threatened’.
Of course, the news has reported that Donald Trump is not as financially invested in Boeing. There will most likely be some anti-Trump campaigning using facts like Boeing’s contributions to Hillary’s campaign to convince you that the decision to cancel the contracts is tainted. But … that’s not entirely true … or true at all. In fact, Hillary Clinton has a LONG standing relationship with Boeing, pitching for the company internationally, and has a twisted government-big business relationship with the manufacturer … you know … the kind that gets a $4 billion dollar contract for $1 billion dollars worth of work? And, any conspiracy that there’s something personal involved is stupid because … TRUMP OWNS his own Boeing 757! (Good … save the taxpayer $20 million dollars in flight fees to use his own jets … I’m cool with that).
What’s the take-away?
Let’s say, in a far-fetched world, that Donald Trump himself wanted to build the planes. And, if he could do it cheaper, on time, using a world-wide labor force, and build safer planes: why not? More jobs, better travel conditions, safer consumers, and less drains on taxpayer dollars means a healthier economy and healthier people! But, Trump’s not even proposing that. He’s simply stating the obvious: over-inflated costs hurt the American economy and need to stop! It’s about time somebody lets the people know what is really going on (the Newsmedia sure won’t). Back-door deals for large corporations (especially those that have ALREADY CORNERED THE WORLD market), are not okay. (And, frankly, knowing that Boeing’s top staff get to live the super rich life, making near $100 million for only a few people, off of taxpayer dollars – SUCKS).
I can’t say whether or not Trump will follow through with this or even be able to enforce it. And, given that it involves large corporations – this will probably fade from the news very quickly. However, if this is the start of a real trend that will make real differences – then this means that change is possible…
And, it may actually happen!
That’s exciting. The idea of cutting wasted tax payer dollars and putting money into better Aerospace, clean energy, infrastructure, and other technological advancements and job-creating programs without increasing taxes is a massive plus for America. It’s a model that can influence the entire world. This means that the children of this generation may have jobs, may be able to use their education, and may have a future.
I know this is only one tweet (from Trump) … one of many, many of his post … and one small step that has been taken before Trump even assumes the leadership role … but what a great step, isn’t it? For everyone who’s acting like an idiot and hating on Trump (outspoken ‘boycotts’ and other folks only) … Hillary most likely wouldn’t have done this (after all, she’s one of the people that helped Boeing get the $4 billion and other contracts). Anyway, as we approach the New Year together, the big “2017”, here’s a cheer to hope for real change.
“It’s nice to dream, isn’t it?” – Huey Freeman (aka Aaron McGruder)